Gabriela Möslein is ESCP's Assistant Programme Chair. In this video she gives us some imaginative ideas for driving the change needed in making our hospitals and ORs sustainable.

I wish to draw your attention to our topic of the month - #SustainableSurgery - an awareness campaign aimed at attracting you to contribute to an urgently required culture of transformation in our hospitals, and especially in our departments of surgery. Sustainability encompasses environmental, financial and social factors. Particularly in our technology-driven surgical environment - we really need to rethink.

Are you willing to contribute to this change? Many of us realise that we are harming our planet at an incredible speed. As you'll be aware, in Germany we have recently experienced unimaginable flooding, with far too many deaths and destroyed lives.

So, to spark your imagination, here are some ideas on how each and every one of us could contribute to this transformation.

In many countries, we separate our personal waste for recycling. In our private lives we are changing the way we travel and source our energy (e.g. solar panels). Once we put on our surgical gown, though, we seem to stop thinking about resource-sparing strategies and carry on with our usual routine. However, surgery is the most energy and waste-intensive specialty in our hospitals.

There are some easy things that we could change immediately. For example, we could reconsider hand-washing strategies. In this Italian hospital, five minutes of hand-washing with running water, and then use of a disinfectant to finish things off, is the established routine. But the water is not recycled for use in flushing toilets, or reused in other areas. An alternate - and just as effective - strategy is to wash with soap only once under running water and then complete the process with disinfectant only.

Non-reusable instruments in surgery have become the rule and not the exception. Even single-use scissors and pin sets on the ward are not being recycled for cost reasons. We might need to reconsider all of this and wind back a bit. For example, by creating partnerships with industry that offer more collectable or reusable technology, or at least innovate for green solutions.

We as end users can, and should, influence the decision-making of providers in our hospitals.

We can recycle in the OR by separating the non-contaminated waste and removing this from the OR for recycling before bringing the patient into the OR.

These are measures that are quite simple and this boils down to my initial question - are you willing to change your current practice? If so, why not set up a Green Team in your hospital and start by raising awareness and changing routines in your own professional surroundings.

A final thought - let's be inspired by amazing ideas from smart people. On example that struck me is recycling incontinence products. Population demographics have led to an alarming rise in the use of incontinence pads in the geriatric population. Four out of five residents in homes for the elderly are incontinent and 70% of their entire waste is generated by used pads. For more than 20 years, a company in Arnhem, The Netherlands, has been recycling incontinence products, and has proved to be resource efficient by saving water, wood and energy, and by avoiding air and water pollution.

We need to start thinking out of the box, and we need you to support this awareness campaign - #SustainableSurgery.

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